Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

There has been a lot of discussion in newborn photography groups about using a dog bed for newborn photography recently.   It has been a growing trend in studio or posed newborn photography for a few years.  I have been using a dog bed for newborn photography for 5 years, and love it.  After seeing so many new photographers asking for advice on using a dog bed for newborn photography recently, I took a few minutes and highlighted why I am using a dog bed for newborn photography recently and the bed I am using. using a dog bed for newborn photography minneapolis newbonr photographer stephanie bennett photography

Bean Bags When I Started | Why You Should Be Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

When I first started in newborn photography, the industry standard was to pose and photograph newborn babies on a bean bag.  Not a bean bag chair, but a specially made puck shaped bean bag for newborn photography. The idea was the bean bags made for both a comfortable posing area for baby, and we photographers could easily manipulate the bean bags in the posing tool to make mounds and dips that helped us pose babies. Like many photographers starting out, I looked at what the industry standard for posing newborns was and used that.  Except I hated it. The bean bag filling moved all of the time, no matter how much filling I added to the bag. The foam filling would break down, and I was left with a very soft posing area.  This made it hard to fine tune my newborn posing.  You also had to build a stand out of PVC pipe to go around the bean bag that allowed you to clamp your backdrops to.  Overall, it seemed like there had to be a better way to pose, and also conserve space in my tiny studio. using a dog bed for newborn photography minneapolis newbonr photographer stephanie bennett photography

Finding What Worked Best for Me | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

While at the studio one day, I had an air mattress up for a session.  I noticed how large and flat the area was, and decided to try it got my newborn photography.  I love it.  I was able to lay my backdrops out nice and flat, and also had a large flat area to pose the baby on. I began using an air mattress or all of my studio newborn session until I made the switch to using a dog bed for newborn photography

 Making The Change | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

Honestly, I am not even sure where I saw someone using a dog bed for newborn photography for the first, I’m sure it was in a photography group somewhere. By no means am I claiming that I was the first, or even one of the first to start using a dog bed for newborn photography. But when I saw it I realized it was a smaller version of the air mattress I had been using. It was big, square, and flat.  Exactly what I wanted for newborn photography sessions. This light blue fabric is another boy favorite.  This was a piece of fabric that I found at a local fabric warehouse while I was there shopping for fabric for a quilt I was making.  I just happened to find this amazing light blue knit fabric and realized it was a great option for newborn photography props.

Trial and Error | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

So about 5 years ago, I made the switch to using a dog bed for newborn photography, and haven’t looked back. I found an elevated dog bed on Amazon and bought it that night. That doesn’t mean it was a seamless switch from a bean bag to using a dog bed for newborn photography.  There were some growing pains in the change to using a dog bed or newborn photography.

The First Dog Bed I Used | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

The first dog bed I found worked, but I knew there had to be a better way to be better as using a dog bed for newborn photography.  The first bed I used had 4 legs and rounded edges on the top.  This allowed the bed to twist a little when not flat on the ground. I stored the dog bed in my studio closet with hooks in the wall.  It kept the dog bed out of the way, but it also let it twist since it wasn’t flat on the floor.  I know that this is normal, but it almost seemed to snap back into place when putting it on the floor or seemed uneven with one leg still in the air.  I wanted something sturdy and flat when using a dog bed for newborn photography. Additionally, the mesh bed area of the first dog bed also seemed to sag badly over time, and was no longer the firm flat area that I loved posing on.  And the area of the bed was much smaller than the air mattress I had been using for newborn photography.  I had to make a stand out of PVC to hold the backdrop up and give me a larger area for shooting. Baby Girl Photography Session

A New Puppy Leads To A Better Choice | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

Then we got a puppy (this adorable little Vizsla named Otis), and like all new puppy parents we began spoiling him.  While looking for a dog bed for him, I stumbled across the best option for using a dog bed for newborn photography. Here is is, modeling on the dog bed too. Vizsla puppy photography session MN dog photographer puppy studio session northfield mn It is an extra-large size dog bed, with more than 4 legs, square edges, and very sturdy, and also has a Velcro end that allows me to tighten the mesh area as needed when it begins to sag (which is rare considered my 4 year old tries to use the dog bad as a trampoline when he’s at the studio. using a dog bed for newborn photography minneapolis newbonr photographer stephanie bennett photography using a dog bed for newborn photography minneapolis newbonr photographer stephanie bennett photography

How I Photograph Newborns | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

using a dog bed for newborn photography minneapolis newbonr photographer stephanie bennett photography Let’s look at how I am using a dog bed for newborn photography.  I show on the bed the long way, I pose baby towards one end, and shoot the length of the dog bed.  I also tend to shoot from a little higher up when using a dog bed for newborn photography and the angle allows me to shoot in a way that fills the whole frame with the backdrop.  I rarely have to edit the backdrop, and if I do it is just a small piece in the corner of the frame.  Here is an example of shooting the baby straight on, versus from up a little higher when using a dog bed for newborn photography.

When using a dog bed for newborn photography I also find that I need little extra layers or padding when posing.  I have 3-4 layers of a thick fleece on the dog bed for padding to make the backdrop smooth.  I will layer my backdrops when using a dog bed for newborn photography, so I have an additional 3-4 fabric layer on the fleece layers when I start.

I use Hello Little’s Shape Shifters for posing.  They are placed on the dog bed, under the layers of fabric.  The shape shifters are flat on the bottom, and are the best when using a dog bed for newborn photography.  Other posing beans are round, and in my experience will move around or slide when posing baby.  This stay exactly where I place them.

I use these 1 inch metal clamps from Menards for to help my drops tight.  I have used cheaper plastic clamps in the past, but I found they would break over time. Once a clamp broke during a session and part of it flew across the room. Not ideal when working with little ones. using a dog bed for newborn photography minneapolis newbonr photographer stephanie bennett photography This dog bed has Velcro along one end, and lets me adjust the tension of the bed area.  This is a huge perk when using a dog bed for newborn photography, because it lets me keep the area where I pose the baby very firm.

Final thoughts | Using A Dog Bed For Newborn Photography

using a dog bed for newborn photography has been a good fit for me, but I know other prefer bean bags or posing tables.  The best advice I can give it to try different options and see what works best or you, your posing style, and your studio space.

To book your session, contact me today.  Use the contact form, or email me at Info@StephanieBennettPhotography.com. You can also check on recent sessions on the blog, or follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see what’s new.